Only 21 percent of Bay area residents can afford to buy homes, according the California Association of Realtors. “I think Austin or Seattle would be better places to buy,” said Stefano Acerbetti, a software development manager for a startup in SFO, though he has no plans to move away from San Francisco.
According to HSH.com, Seattle, home buyers need to earn about $73,000 to qualify for the $352,000 median, according to the analysis. In San Antonio (the closest metro area to Austin it looked at), HSH found a $45,000 salary is enough to afford the $185,500 median price.
I for one, can tell you that the market for a buyer is very brisk, whether here in Seattle or in SFO.
If you are serious about being able to get a home or condo this year, YOU need to take proactive steps in advance of stepping into a real estate agent’s car or attending open houses.
What sort of steps? How about:
– Interview 3 Mortgage Brokers to talk about financing and determine what kind of loan would be the best fit for you.
– Get PreAPPROVED, not just PreQualified. Difference is that the first option actually gives you power in negotiations with a seller. All you are waiting to obtain is the report by a bank approved appraiser. PreQualification only says that based on the story you told the banker, you “look like” you can afford the house.
– Be realistic what you can afford to buy and know that in a brisk market, you may well be up against other people making offers on the same house. This process is going to take time to be the successful bidder on a property, ESPECIALLY in certain price ranges.
– Interview Professional Real Estate Brokers to look for a good personality match. Is the person a go-getter who is knowledgeable, pleasant but enthusiastic, or do they strike you as a plaid-short coat wearing motivational speaker with a dash of car sales thrown in? (*Hint: Call Rita Harris, Broker as one of your choices to interview!)
– DON’T try to negotiate with the listing agent to buy the house you want. You’re not likely to “get a better deal.” a cheap commission (buyers in our area generally don’t pay that anyway), or be put ahead of any other offer coming in. In fact, you put yourself in a very uncomfortable situation concerning the Law of Agency and representation of your interests! Would you go to court for a lawsuit and have the opposing counsel/attorney represent you in a court case? If the answer is “No” then don’t have the listing agent handle your interests. You need a Professional Broker who is an advocate of YOUR needs and interests.
Be glad you are choosing to find a home here in Seattle, WA. Although there will be a flood of buyers looking this Spring and Summer, persistence will pay off and you are money ahead of trying to buy in San Francisco. Here’s the rest of the story if you’re interested in reading: http://cnet.co/1Bij2Fu
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